Arsenal brought in Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli back in July, but he could quite easily have ended up plying his trade at Manchester United instead.
According to The Telegraph, the 18-year-old moved to Emirates Stadium from South American club Ituano for £6 million over the summer, signing a five-year deal with the club.
The highly-rated starlet has only made one Premier League appearance so far this season, but he scored twice in a 5-0 Carabao Cup third-round win over Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.
Martinelli’s eye-catching performance suggests that he could become a world-class player in the coming years, with supporters already embracing his unique talent wholeheartedly at the Emirates.
According to The Athletic, United rejected the chance to sign the teenage forward before he completed a transfer to Arsenal, having kept close tabs on his progress for quite some time.
The report states that Martinelli trained with the Red Devils regularly between 2015 and 2017, while also featuring in an Under-18 game against Lincoln City, but he was never offered a permanent contract.
United’s loss looks like it could be Arsenal’s gain if his scintillating display in the League Cup is anything to go by, but he will have to bide his time before becoming a regular in Unai Emery’s line up.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe are all ahead of Martinelli in the squad pecking order at the moment, with his contribution to the 2019-20 campaign likely to be restricted to cup competitions.
Had he ended up joining United rather than Arsenal, Martinelli might have found himself playing more frequently, given Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s lack of options upfront at the moment.
The two sides will meet in the Premier League on Monday night and Martinelli might yet be hoping to have an impact on the game off the bench if Emery decides to include him in his matchday squad.